Perhaps not the ones you were thinking of, rather it’s the likes you acknowledge every moment of the day: the car you eyed on the way to work, the way your barista translated your request into the perfect coffee, the phone in your hand as you glance away from this post or maybe it’s the sign on the building that reminds you why you come to work each day. The reality is that likes are a core part of what we do every day and what we like has a huge impact where we invest our time, energy and money.
Let’s begin with a difficult truth; it is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself in the marketplace by product alone. Chances are, if you have a product that someone else makes just as well, a consumer could choose your product or your competitor’s and not make a bad decision either way.
To succeed brands must attract followership, advocates and loyalists and it doesn’t really matter what you call them, what matters is that they identify with you and in a perfect world tell others about your brand.
Here is the big news; we aren’t just talking about your customers. We are talking about everyone who engages with your brand: customers, fans and perhaps most importantly your employees.
Do your employees like you? Do they like your products or services? Do they like your customers? These are important questions to ask because the answers are critical to your success. Knowing these answers could be the single biggest contributor to your ability to provide best in class customer experience, period.
If you are competing, you are as good as everyone else who is making, selling and delivering products and services that are just like yours.
If you are differentiating, you are delivering an experience that leads your industry and ultimately compels consumers to engage with your brand first and to share it with their friends.
If you are leading, consumers consider you to be the best experience regardless of the type of product or service you are providing. As multiple Forrester reports clearly point out, firms with high Customer Experience Index (CXi) scores have more customers who: purchase again, don’t switch to competitors and recommend the company to friends.
While competing can certainly be accomplished with great product, only people can create differentiated and leading experiences that your customers like. So, when you are thinking about growing your business and drafting your next marketing plan, ask yourself—do our people like us?
The facts support this as a critical question. Today 70% of employees are disengaged from their work1, yet when we look at performance on key business metrics, companies who rank in the top employee engagement quartile see customer satisfaction increase by 10%, productivity increase by 21% and profitability increase by 22%2.
Also worth noting, when employees strongly agree that their manager cares about their well being 94% feel that they will be with the company beyond the next year vs. 42% who won’t3.
After all, if you are going ask consumers to like you, shouldn’t the people on your front lines like you first? At the end of the day great experiences are contagious and in a commoditized world “likes” need to be more than clicks—they need to be connections.
(1) Source: Gallup 2013 Survey
(2) Source: Gallup Q12, 8th iteration, 2012
(3) Source: 2010 Center for Creative Leadership